Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha is a movie saved by its actors—with strong performances from Sharon Cuneta and Moi Marcampo overcoming its lack of ambition and film production discipline.
After more than a decade away from full-length films, Sharon Cuneta makes a movie comeback through this Cinemalaya 2017 entry written and directed by Mes de Guzman.
In this dramedy, Sharon is cast as a mother, desperately longing for her family. Her equally desperate solution is to find the family that do not weep, which according to folklore, can help bring back one’s lost loved ones.
The Megastar, who has won several acting awards for iconic movies such as Madrasta and is also famed for highly successful hits like Bituing Walang Ningning, delivers a captivating performance. She is at turns funny and charming.
Her fans called “Sharonians” will surely enjoy seeing her trademark bungisngis on the silver screen again. Sharon whimsical performance hides a deep harrowing sadness—and it is both powerful and overwhelming when her sadness is finally revealed in its purest form in the film’s best scene.
Moi Marcampo is a comedic upstart who will fill many film theaters with wild laughter. She is Sharon’s sidekick, but is also the instigator of the movie’s most hilarious moments. It seems as if every scene is being set up for one of her spunky punchlines. However, despite sharing so much spirit and zaniness to the film, her character is criminally underdeveloped.
And therein lies another of Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha’s weakness—it’s inability to explore and develop the characters of Moi, Niño Muhlach, and its other stars.
Kiko Matos, who portrays the son in the family that do not weep, should also stick to fighting Baron Geisler in mixed martials arts because he is seriously behind Baron when it comes to acting proficiency.
I’ve been a fan of Mes de Guzman’s literary work since reading Barriotic Punk: Mga Kuwento sa Baryo at Kanto. But I am not a fan of his ability to translate his writing into film. As with fiction writing, film production requires discipline and technique. Sadly, Ang Pamilya Hindi Lumuluha still has the incoherent plot structure and second-rate production mistakes that are evident in his earlier films.
Direk Mes did a meritable effort in disguising heartaches such as a husband’s betrayal, a mother’s death, and failure in one’s career among the film’s humorous moments.
However, I still feel that five or more of the comedic scenes are unnecessary and could have been replaced with opportunities to explore the characters of Moi and the family that do not weep.
The family members could have been more than MacGuffins (unnecessary plot devices), but tangible, likeable characters who could have made the story richer and the cinematic experience more remarkable.
The cinematography could have been improved and there were many lousy shots, including shaky camera work in the film’s best scenes. Yes, the camera shake does have its purpose but not when its distracts from the palpable loss and heartbreak in the face of one of the country’s best actresses.
Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha is enjoyable but not unforgettable, which is a shame considering how long fans have been waiting for their idol’s return to the big screen.
Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha is one of the entries of Cinemalaya 2017, ongoing until August 13. It is being screened at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Ayala Malls cinemas namely Greenbelt 1, Glorietta 4, UP Town Center, TriNoma, Fairview Terraces, and Marquee Mall in Pampanga.
Ed's Note: The 'PEP Review' section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial team.